Supreme Court Ruling Has Implications for Private Landowners
A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court has drawn fire from property rights activists and others concerned about the potential impacts of the ruling on private landowners, including agricultural landowners. On June 23, 2005, in Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled that local governments have the right to seize property under eminent domain for private redevelopment if they pay just compensation to the owners. Historically, eminent domain has been used primarily for public projects, but the ruling concerns conservation groups, who question whether the decision might allow communities to take private agricultural land and open space through eminent domain for development projects.
Celebrating 25 Years of Saving Working Farms and Ranches
Montgomery County, Md. and Marin County, Calif. are two of the most successful agricultural land protection programs in the nation. Their success is based on strong support from farmers and the public and a combination of incentives and regulations, such as agricultural zoning, purchase of agricultural conservation easements, business planning for farmers and policies that support farming. Lectures, farms tours, harvest celebrations and other festivities will be held throughout the year in both counties to mark the successful endeavors. View American Farmland Trust's (AFT's) PACE fact sheet to learn more about one of the most successful techniques in these counties.
Senate Fully Funds Working Lands Conservation Programs
The Senate Appropriations Committee’s recently approved FY 06 agriculture funding bill includes large increases to the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) and the Conservation Security Program (CSP). The committee funded the FRPP at its full, authorized level of $100 million, an increase of $26.5 million over the level approved by the House of Representatives. The bill also lifts the cap placed on CSP last year and increases funding above the $245 million approved by the House.
Helping Farms and Ranches be Profitable
Staying profitable when competing against a flood of products produced from four corners of the globe is one of the greatest challenges for farmers and ranchers. Communities that recognize the value of agriculture to the local economy are helping by implementing land use planning techniques and agricultural economic development programs. By planning for an economically healthy agriculture with pro-farming techniques that are integrated into an overall comprehensive land use plan, urban-edge communities retain the qualities that make them attractive. Learn how AFT can help you create and implement a plan for agriculture.
AFT asks you to Bid with your Lid!
AFT was selected as one of 3 conservation organizations to receive a percentage of a $100,000 donation from Stonyfield Farm based on consumer voting. Please help save farm and ranch land by voting for AFT today!
To vote and support AFT:
- Log on to http://www.stonyfield.com/ and enter one vote for AFT.
- Collect the limited edition lids from Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Cups and mail them (with your name and address, AND indicate your vote for AFT) to: Stonyfield Farm, PO Box 4840, Manchester, NH 03108-4840. Each lid equals one vote for AFT.
Sprawling Development Threatens America’s Forests
A new study by the U.S. Forest Service, Forests on the Edge: Housing Development on America’s Private Forests, documents the threat and potential impacts to private forest land. The study, done with assistance from AFT, complements AFT’s Farming on the Edge study to provide a picture of private working lands—farm, ranch and forest land—threatened. The study shows that 44.2 million acres of private forest land, particularly in the East, is likely to see dramatic increases in housing development in the next three decades, with consequent impacts on ecological, economic and social services.
News Briefs from Around the Country
In February, Wyoming joined 48 other states in passing legislation allowing conservation easements. However, North Dakota’s legislature recently failed to pass a similar bill, making North Dakota the only state without legislation allowing conservation easements. Visit AFT’s Farmland Information Center Web site for a state-by-state listing of conservation easement enabling laws.
Texas Governor Perry signed SB 1273, establishing the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program—Texas’ first statewide purchase of development rights program.
As the first session of the 143rd Delaware General Assembly came to a close, two parts of the Livable Delaware legislative agenda were approved and have been sent to Governor Minner for her signature, while other proposals remain in Legislative Hall for consideration when the legislature resumes its work in January.
Dane County, Wisconsin has purchased the development rights on 83 acres of farmland along the Highway 12 corridor—the first purchase using monies from a 1999 negotiation between the county and state Department of Transportation for land use planning and preservation along U.S. 12.